Tag Archives: fall

Chocolate Halloween Pretzels

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An alternate heading and photo I probably should have led with:

What Not To Do When You Move

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In the spirit of putting away some extra food for a rainy day, I have a 5-gallon bucket full of chocolate chips (of various varieties). Shown above: what used to be a bag of Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet Chips, Costco-sized bag. My favorite.

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Don’t judge my food storage choices. When the zombie apocalypse hits, what do you really want to eat: cracked wheat porridge or chocolate?

Before moving last year, I did not think about the effects that a month of sitting in the back of a moving truck in June/July, would have on my precious bucket of chocolate chips. So instead of a bucket full of chocolate chips, I had a bucket full of chocolate bricks. I have finally made it through the last bag!

The struggle is real.

This is certainly a lemonade from lemons kind of first-world dilemma. We ended up with some fun chocolate dipped pretzels to share at a recent Fall Fest.

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Don’t want to bother remelting the chocolate block? It also makes a good paperweight.

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Filed under Candy, Desserts

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

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Fall and pumpkin just seem to go hand in hand. Cream cheese, however, that is an all-season ingredient. Paired together you get a moist, delicious muffin perfect for any time of the year.

A crunchy, sugary topping on a pumpkin-pie-spiced-cheesecakey muffin. Now all we need is some hot cocoa.

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RECIPE:

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Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Muffin Batter:
1 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbs buttermilk powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice

Cream Cheese Swirl:
8 oz (1 pkg) cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbs flour

Topping:
2 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs flour
1 tsp  cinnamon
2 Tbs butter, cold

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line muffin pans with paper liners.

Muffin Batter: Using an electric mixer, beat together the pumpkin, oil, sugars, eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, buttermilk powder, salt, baking soda and spices. Add dry ingredients to mixing bowl and beat until just combined.

Cream Cheese Swirl: With a mixer, beat cream cheese and egg until combined. Beat in powdered sugar and flour.

Topping: Mix the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until crumbly.

Fill each muffin paper about 1/3 full with muffin batter (about 2 Tbs). Add a small spoonful of filling (about 1-2 tsp). Repeat layers in each muffin cup. Using a table knife, gently swirl batters. Sprinkle topping over the swirled muffin batter.

Bake at 350˚ F for 17-20 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing.

Makes 15-18 muffins.

 

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Filed under Breads, Breakfast/Brunch, Desserts

Southwestern Ham and White Bean Soup

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Thank goodness for crock pots on cold fall days full of errands and after-school activities for both kids and parents.

This soup is best made with a leftover meaty ham bone, but you can also start with a chopped ham steak. If my ham bone is not meaty enough to yield about 3 cups of chopped ham, I will usually add additional chopped ham to the soup.

If you are using a ham bone, this is a two-step crock pot soup. The ham bone simmers in a crock pot full of water and aromatic herbs, onion and garlic until the ham can easily be removed and chopped (about 4 hours on high). I like to strain out all of the little bits that fall off of the ham, along with the herb sprigs, and then return the strained broth to the crock pot with the chopped ham and additional ingredients. TIP: add remaining ingredients to the crock pot first, along with chopped ham. Then add strained broth until crock pot is full (then you don’t risk overflowing your crock pot adding in all of the good stuff).

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This soup has a southwestern flavor with the addition of salsa, diced hot green chilies, mild chilies, beans and corn. Plus some standard soup veges (onions, carrots, celery); you could add anything you are looking to get rid of in your produce drawer.

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Serve it plain or with any number of desired garnishes (cheese, green onions, crushed tortilla chips or baked tortilla strips, sour cream, olives, additional salsa or hot sauce). I have found that the likelihood of my children eating soup is directly proportional to the number of “toppings” they are allowed to pile on.

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Serve with these Cheddar and Herb Drop Biscuits

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RECIPE:
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Southwestern Ham and White Bean Soup

1 meaty ham bone
1 onion, quartered
4-6 cloves of garlic
Sprigs of fresh herbs: rosemary, sage, thyme,
————-oregano, and/or basil**
1 bay leaf
½ tsp cracked black pepper
1 yellow onion, diced
1-2 carrots, diced
2-3 stalks celery, diced
1-2 hot peppers, finely chopped
1 cup corn
3 cans white beans, drained
1 can diced green chilies
OPTIONAL: additional chopped ham, 2-3 cups total,
—————– (if ham bone is not very meaty)
2 cups salsa
salt
1/4 cup fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
OPTIONAL GARNISHES: shredded cheese, tortilla strips or
———– crushed tortilla chips, green onions, sour cream,
———– additional salsa or hot sauce

Place the ham bone, onion, garlic, herbs, bay leaf and cracked pepper in a large crock pot. Add enough water to cover the ham bone (about 6-8 cups). Cook on high for 4 hours, or until ham begins to fall off of the bone.

Remove ham bone from the crock pot; allow to cool slightly and then chop ham into bite-sized pieces. Strain broth from the crock pot, reserving the broth. Discard herbs and ham bone. Add all remaining ingredients, except salt, parsley or cilantro and garnishes to the crock pot with the chopped ham. Add reserved broth until crock pot is full; add additional water, if necessary. Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours. Taste and salt as needed (about ½ – 1 tsp kosher salt, depending on saltiness of ham). Stir in parsley or cilantro.

Serve in bowls with desired garnishes.

**Note: You can also use dried herbs in place of the herb sprigs. Choose 2-3 herb varieties and add about ½ tsp of each.

 

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Filed under Soups/Stews/Curries